As a Project Manager you cannot realistically expect to be popular with all of the staff working for you, indeed Project Management is definitely not a job for people who constantly feel the need to be reassured of their popularity with their work colleagues. As the Project Manager you are there to perform one main task – to ensure the success of the project. However, that very success will largely depend on the work and actions of others under your direction. So do you need to be seen to be managing or leading teams?
Project Management is people management.
The fact is that Project Management is as much about people management as anything. If you can’t manage the people you’ll never be able to manage the tasks they’re involved with. Instilling fear into people can gain success in the short term, but over the course of a project will simply invoke resentment in your work colleagues and their antipathy towards you. To ensure that your work colleagues respect you and will willingly work with you – you first have to earn their respect. The obvious points to be aware of here is that you must be able to demonstrate to those work colleagues from the beginning that you have the key characteristics and skills set to fulfill your own job – which you can only do by being an effective team leader. Don’t forget as well that a simple good morning/good night to project workers and praising them for work well done will be invaluable to the esteem in which they hold you.
Get the right team …
Of course your task of leading teams will be much easier if you have had control of recruitment to the project, especially to the key roles of those staff with most personal contact with you. Therefore, it is almost vital that you are responsible for building the project team. After recruiting the project team you then have to also motivate them to maximize their productivity and provide effective leadership to ensure they are loyal to you and know exactly what is required of them. We’ll return to the three themes of: team recruitment, team motivation and leadership in later postings.